Friday, July 14, 2017

Week-ending (7/15/17)





I wanted to give y'all a little peek into my week, with a new series I'm starting called 'Week-ending.'  It's a sampling of things I'm obsessing over, the open tabs on my iPad, recipes I'm trying, what's going on in Austin & more.  Have something I need to try/buy/read?  Let me know in the comments, I'm always looking for new loves.

It's my Jam

This week, I'm totally digging:
  • I'm don't usually crave cold treats (I prefer my sugar in cookie form) but I need to make this ice cream from AwwSam to survive Summer. 
  • Foam Rollers.  I've had one for a while, used it off & on, but recently my neck/back have been killing me.  It's now my new best friend. Check out some beginner tips here
  • This print from TalulaChristian's etsy page just made my wish list.  Little by little I've been creating a gallery wall of fierce lady art in my bathroom & this print needs a spot in the collection.
  • Daily commutes are infinitely better & much more nostalgic now that I've discovered the Fan Girl Fridays Podcast.  They discuss all kinds of TV, but focus on shows from the 90s & my inner teenager is LOVING IT!  They've inspired me to re-watch Daria with Andrew, which is more awesome than I even remember.
  • This floral & succulent themed party from Kara at A Kalio Chic Life is making me want to have a get-together ASAP.
  • Speaking of parties, I have a couple of upcoming baby showers to attend & the new Oh Joy! baby clothing collection at Target is bright, completely adorable & must be included in the next few baby gifts I buy.



Bookmarked

Articles I came across that have my thinking:


Bruschetta from Sophia's on West 6th Street

What we ate

Making meals during the week can be so hit or miss, but I'm hoping putting our weekly run-down on the blog will help me be motivated to cook a real dinner.

  • Monday: Went with a quick & easy go-to: toast with pesto, prosciutto, cherry tomatoes & fresh mozzarella, melted for just a minute under the broiler. Delicious & comes together in a minute.
  • Tuesday: We tried a new recipe: Chicken & Spinach Saagwala from Beth Behrs new book, Me-Tox.  It was very tasty & I'm so glad I tried something new!  The meal was slightly intense for a spice wimp like me, without much experience with Indian flavors, but it was delicious.
  • Wednesday: On Tuesday, we grilled several chicken breasts, so tonight was Tex Mex Bowls: rice with black beans, leftover chicken, sauteed onions & peppers, avocado, feta & a quick cilantro/yogurt/lemon (outta limes!) sauce.  I love this kind of  'kitchen sink' meal.
  • Thursday:  I had a Austin Food Blogger's Alliance happy hour at Sophia's on West 6th, so dinner was appetizers, drinks & dessert.  I love these monthly get-togethers with my foodie friends & the bites were great.  My favorites were the bruschetta (above) & the butter cake. 
  • Friday: I picked up groceries earlier in the week for this Lemony Pesto Pasta with Edamame & Almonds recipe from kitchn, but I'm not sure we'll make it tonight.  It's been a long week & energy is in short supply.  If it doesn't get made tonight, we will have it over the weekend. 

Get Outta the House

Weather is a factor this weekend, as it's slated to be in the upper 90s with rain chances, so most likely, we will be indoors as much as possible, but here's what's on my short-list of possibilities:

  • Wizard of Oz at Zilker Hillside Theater. It starts every evening around 8:15pm & runs Thurs - Sunday, through Aug. 12
  • Food Crawl! I've been itching to try some of my friend Linda's picks for the best Tater Tots in Austin.  Check out her tour at Girl Eats World.  
  • It's damn hot outside, which is a great excuse to start a new book!  Half Price Books is running an awesome coupon sale through July 16th & I may have to pick up something new. Sign up to receive their coupons here.
  • Not happening this week, but my *favorite* comic, Whitney Cummings is going on a tour to promote her new book & tickets for her October 16th show at the Paramount go on-sale today....I'm so excited!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Reading List




How is it already the middle of June?  And why is it already 100 outside?!?  I'm going to need alot of pool time this year.  And with lots of pool lounging comes plenty of reading.  

My book club is taking the summer off, so I thought that I would challenge myself to read a few books with intention.  All six of the authors I chose are female, with unique perspectives, discussing a variety of topics. After being captivated with the Wonder Woman movie earlier this month, I am looking forward to engulfing myself in other women's stories.  The future is female y'all.   

What are you reading this summer?  I'd love to hear your picks! 



The Total ME-Tox, Beth Behrs

I must confess that this book first peaked my interest because Two Broke Girls is my jam & I love Beth Behrs...I mean, after kinda stalking her instagram page, seeing her feminist leanings, love of outdoors & boho style, I'm pretty sure if we met, we'd be friends.  And you have to buy your bestie's book, right?

Right.  In all seriousness, I'm intrigued & very interesting in exploring this book.  Behrs focuses on small, simple healthy changes, & there are three parts to the book: ditching your diet (liking the sound of this already!), move your body and love your life.  Yes, yes and yes.  After a hectic spring that included me taking a month to recover from surgery, my household could handle a big 'ol dose of wellness.  And the Amazon page for the book says it's meant to 'inspire even the laziest among us.'  Umm, was this written just for me?  Because that line worked on my ultra-sluggish self & I added the book to my cart immediately.





Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert

Liz Gilbert is one of my favorite people to seek out when I'm in need of inspiration.  Her words, whether in a book, on her Magic Lessons podcast or in a facebook post are always positive, thought provoking & real.  I've read Eat, Pray, Love before & adore Liz's story of traveling to 3 countries (Italy, India, Indonesia) in the hopes of being her best self.  With each read, I come away with something different & a renewed sense of personal motivation.  Summer feels like the perfect time to dive back into the 'finding yourself' pool.





Are Your There God?  It's Me, Margaret, Judy Blume

This book is a right of passage for every young girl, right?  I hated junior high with a passion (f--- you 7th grade!), but I remember reading, loving & relating heavily to this book. For the life of me, I can't really remember the storyline, but when I saw this on the shelf at Book People, I couldn't help myself.  I am pumped to relive this Judy Blume story & maybe even a few cringe-worthy moments from my early teens.  Thankfully, I don't have braces, awkward growth spurts or mean girls to deal with this go around.




The Baby Sitter's Club, Kristy's Great Idea, Ann M. Martin and Raina Telgemeier

As a kid, my Mom bought me a mail subscription to The Baby Sitter's Club.  IT WAS AWESOME.  I received a book in the mail each month & as soon as it arrived, I would devour it. Claudia, the artsy one in her girl squad, was my favorite character & I got overly excited when a book focused on her.  I was in Target the other day when I came across these new graphic novel versions & had to grab the first one.  I got so giddy, I called my sister as I was leaving the store, book in hand.  The first four stories of the series have been published -- I may just have to read all of them.





The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros

I didn't read this one in school, so I'm really looking forward to reading this story of a young Latina girl in Chicago, trying to find her way.  I'm fascinated with the experience of growing up in large cities, as it's so different from the small, isolated community I was raised in.  Sandra Cisneros is known for a poetic, flowing style (love this type of writing!) & is one of the reasons I picked up the book.  The story is told in vignettes, each describing an event in the main character's life & I think that will make for a very interesting, realistic read.





How to Be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

Since my summer is all about the world through women's eyes, my final summer book is feminist focused.  How to Be a Woman is a mix of personal accounts & commentary on the modern woman's experience.  Caitlin Moran's work is known for being bold, funny & smart.  I'm sold.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Charred Corn Flatbread




Charred corn is one of our favorite summer go-tos.  It's so easy to make & it pairs with almost anything.  Not to mention, corn is cheap, cheap in the summer months.  We grill up several pieces at once on Sunday & use them all week long in salads, as-is, or our new obsession...as an awesome pizza topper!

The burnt bits of the corn & grilled red onions are full of smoky flavor & the tomatoes, lime & basil add a pop of bright freshness.  If you're not a basil fan, you could totally swap that out for cilantro & it would be just as delicious.  We have only eaten the pizza by ourselves so far, but I think that if you sliced it into smaller pieces, it would make the perfect appetizer for a fajita night with friends. (Mentally adding that to my to-do list now).






Charred Corn Flatbread


1/4 batch of your favorite pizza dough (We use the Joy of Cooking recipe or this recipe from Bobby Flay)
olive oil spray
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella (or 12 ounces fresh mozzarella)
2 ears of corn, shucked, soaked, grilled & cut off the cob
1/3 medium red onion, sliced thin & grilled
handful of cherry tomatoes, diced into quarters
lime wedge
grated parmesan for topping
large handful basil, chopped


Preheat oven and pizza stone to 475 degrees.  Flour your surface and roll out dough thin to form a circle about 12 inches or so in diameter.  Poke a few holes in your dough with a fork & spray dough with olive oil spray.  

Top liberally with mozzarella cheese, then add charred corn, onions & tomatoes.  Bake on pizza stone for 6 - 8 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble & the dough begins to brown.  Top with squeeze of lime, sprinkling of parmesan & chopped basil.  Slice & serve immediately.





Monday, June 12, 2017

Nerfetti Cream Cheese Frosting




As my tastebuds have altered as I age, I have developed an affection for the combo of sweet & sour.  I still can't handle lip-puckering super sour treats, but a little bit of zing with dessert always makes me happy.  A few years ago, I created a decorate-your-own-cupcake bar for a party & it was a big hit.  I filled the table with several different candies, sprinkles & more.  After the party was over, I was cleaning up & created a little combo of regular buttercream, mini chocolate chips & some NERDs candy sprinkled on top.  It was so delicious, I wrote it down in my idea notebook & forgot about it.

In March, I always make chocolate cupcakes with green frosting for Andrew's cousin Marty's birthday.  Often, I just make plain green buttercream frosting, but this year, I wanted to mix it up a little bit & remembered my cupcake bar creation.  I mixed up this fruity, slightly sour concoction & I think it turned out great!  The rich cream cheese frosting with the punch from the candy makes for a unique flavor combo.




Nerdfetti Frosting


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
5 ounce box Nerds Candy, plus more for decoration

Cream butter & cream cheese together until smooth.  Slowly, in batches, mix in the powdered sugar.  Once all sugar is incorporated, add in vanilla & mix until smooth.  By hand, stir in candy.  Frost as desired.

Note: I tried using a piping bag & star tip to frost cupcakes, but the tip kept getting clogged with the candy bits.  I had a very hard time with it &  abandoned the idea quickly, so frosting by hand is probably best.






Thursday, March 2, 2017

#ATXBESTEATS A round-up of Great Austin Cookies

As a kid, I was never really sheltered from dessert.  I grew up with a fine appreciate for sweets, especially homemade.  Often on the weekends, my mom would make cobblers, pies or cookies & we would d-e-v-o-u-r them.  My mom was a great cook, but she really loved baking.  Her love of sugary confections showed in every cookie, slice & spoonful that came out of her oven.  I've told you a little bit about her famous sugar cookies before on the blog.

So, I blame my deep affection for cookies on her.  :)  As part of the AFBA City Guide this year, I decided to tell you about some of my favorite cookies around Austin.  Because, we could all use a treat now & then, right?



Baked by Amy's

Baked by Amy's

13265 North Hwy. 183; Sunday - Thursday, 10am - 8pm, Friday - Saturday, 10am - 9pm

If you want true Austin charm in cookie form, look no further than Baked by Amy's.  You have to try their Austin-centric, Texas shaped sugar cookies.  1. They are absolutely adorable, with 'your my better half,' 'i love you so much,' 'don't mess with Texas' & plenty of other fun Austin designs.           2. They are some of the best bakery sugar cookies I have ever had! These guys are thick, but surprisingly soft, with a great flavor.  Bonus: These cookies come packaged, so they would be perfect for a mid-week treat for loved ones or an Austin-themed basket for someone missing the River City!


Crema Bakery & Cafe

Crema Bakery & Cafe

9001 Brodie Lane, Sunday - Wednesday, 7am - 5pm, Thursday - Saturday, 7am - 7pm

A local favorite of ours, Crema always has a full case of beautiful sweet treats.  Nestled in a little shopping center on Brodie Lane, Crema is a fun place to sit & read a book, while satisfying your sweet tooth.  Try the oatmeal cookie with a latte & you'll be happy.  I'm also partial to their chocolate chip, or on occasion, their decorated shortbread.  You really can't go wrong with anything from their case.



Kellie's Baking Co.


 Kellie's Baking Co.

5245 Burnet Rd., Monday - Friday, 10am - 6pm, Saturday, 10am - 3pm, Closed Sundays

This sweet, colorful shop on Burnet Rd. brings the goods.  Try the Brookie, for a decadent, shareable bite.  This stellar treat is a brownie, topped with a chocolate chip cookie, covered in marshmallow goodness.  Droll worthy, right?  Now, when it comes to something you'll want to save all for yourself...try the Peanut Butter or chocolate chip cookie stuffed with caramel & chocolate.  They're large & most definitely in charge.

La Mexicana Bakery

La Mexicana Bakery

 1924 S. 1st Street, Open 24 hours

If you've never been to a Mexican bakery, I highly recommend trying La Mexicana Bakery on S. 1st.  It's open 24 hours & always has smiling faces behind the counter.  I love La Mexicana because their cookies are just slightly sweet (which means you can eat more!) & always so bright & colorful.  I always go for the ones with sprinkles, or Mexican wedding cookies.  



Quack's 43rd Street Bakery

Quack's 43rd Street Bakery


411 E. 43rd Street, Monday - Friday, 6:30am - 11pm, Saturday, 7am - 11pm, Sunday, 7:30am - 11pm

With fun combos like Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Nutella filled Tea Cookies & Chocolate Ginger, Quack's cookies are perfect if you're wanting to try something new.  And the hearty dose of laid-back Austin attitude makes you feel right at home.  They also have ever-changing decorated cookies, that are always cute & original.  You have to try one, & just to rub it in that you're eating something so tasty...you gotta instagram it.


Sugar Mama's Bakeshop

Sugar Mama's Bakeshop

1905 S. 1st Street, Tuesday, - Saturday, 10am - 9pm, Sunday, 10am - 6pm

Sugar Mama's Mexican Wedding Cookies may be one of my favorite cookies.  They are soft, tender, buttery, full of pecan pieces & just the right size.  You need to try these; while strolling down S. 1st street with a good cup of coffee in one hand, & your cookie in the other.  Also, make sure you pick up a Salted Caramel Snickerdoodle & an Everything Cookie, filled with peanut butter, oats & chocolate.


Sweetish Hill

Sweetish Hill Bakery


1120 W. 6th Street, Monday - Saturday, 6:30am - 7pm, Sunday 6:30am - 3pm

An Austin institution, Sweetish Hill has been a go-to of mine for years.  Their cute shop is along the quieter side West 6th street & is a wonderful place to spend some time.  I love their nutty, pecan-filled sand tarts & of course, the 'Deep in the Heart of Texas' shortbread.  Also try the black & white or the palmier.


Walton's Fancy & Staple

Walton's Fancy & Staple

609 W. 6th Street, Monday - Saturday, 7am - 7pm, Sunday 8am - 4pm

 A great afternoon can be spent sipping a cup of coffee with a salty oats cookie on your plate, sitting in one of the outdoor tables with a little sun shining.  After enjoying your sweet Walton's treat, I recommend walking through Book People, Whole Foods or Waterloo Records, as they're all within eye-sight.  And take a ginger cookie with you for later, they are over-sized, chewy, sweet & zingy.




Be sure to check out the rest of the AFBA City Guides that cover great places throughout the city!





#ATXBESTEATS Deep South Austin

A few years ago, when we moved in to our first 'real' home in deep, deep South Austin (almost in Manchaca, but still rooted in Austin), there was very little in the way of local restaurants in our neighborhood.  Or good restaurants for that matter.  Fast food chains & a couple of not-so-good take out places seemed to be our only options.

Recently, though, delicious Austin-owned eateries have been popping up all over between William Cannon & Slaughter Lane, keeping our bellies & mouths happy!  And if the last few months have been any indication, we are hopeful that many more restaurants are on their way.

Aviator Pizza, South Congress Ave.


Below are my picks for great eats in deep South Austin.  What are yours?  I'm always looking for great places that are close, so if I've left off your favorite, please let me know!  

And if you're looking for more tasty fare that's a little further North, but still firmly in South Austin, check out South Austin Foodie's awesome addition to the 2017 AFBA City Guide, Best of South Austin Restaurants.  You can also check out the rest of the AFBA City Guides that cover great eats throughout the city, here!




Breakfast/Brunch

Crema

9001 Brodie Lane, Monday - Saturday, 7 am - 9 pm

Solid breakfast/brunch options, delicious pastries & a good cup of joe.  With a large variety of cake balls, cookies & cupcakes that'll sooth your sweet tooth, you'll leave with a smile on your face.  They also serve up tasty sandwiches, salads & soups.

Crema

Crema

Kerbey Lane

4301 William Cannon, 24/7

Austin weird meets arguably the best breakfast in town.  They have a full menu, but their omelets, varieties of eggs benedict & pancakes are tops.  Plus, it's fun to have breakfast anytime.  With weekly flapjack specials, seasonal menus, lots of vegan options & dang good queso, they've got something for everyone.  Try the baked potato omelet, a sandwich with sweet potato fries off the seasonal menu or the buttermilk pancakes with lots of butter.  No syrup needed.

Kerbey Lane Cafe

River City Donuts

1945 William Cannon, 7 days a week, 5 am - 9 pm

Simple, tasty, consistent donuts & sausage kolaches.  Strike up conversation with the older men drinking coffee while you're waiting in line & make sure you get at least a few of the Bavarian cream donut holes.  They're worth the calories.

Macho Taco

12110 Manchaca Rd., Monday - Thursday 6:30 am - 5 pm, Friday 6:30 am - 7 pm, Saturday 7 am - 7 pm, Sunday 8 am - 5 pm

Inexpensive traditional Tex-Mex known for their breakfast tacos, lunch specials & more.  The juevos rancheros is my go-to, along with the make-your-own breakfast tacos.  The service is always friendly, and while there is alot of seating, it fills up around popular breakfast hours, so be prepared to wait a few minutes.

Macho Taco

Wholy Bagel

4404 William Cannon, Weekdays 6 am - 3 pm, Weekends 7 am - 3 pm

Incredible, no frills New York style bagels & delicious specialty cream cheeses.  Many claim Wholy Bagel to be best in town.  Very few would argue.  Be sure to get there early to make sure you get your favorite flavor!  Very limited seating, but lots of parking.

Quick Bites

Tino's Greek Cafe

9905 Brodie Lane, Monday - Saturday, 11 am - 9 pm, Sunday, 11 am - 8 pm

You'll find all of your Greek favorites with quick service.  I usually go for the Vegetarian Platter which includes 5 sides of your choice.  The falafel & hummus are always among my picks.

Tino's Greek Cafe

Torchy's Tacos

4301 William Cannon, Monday - Thursday 7 am - 10 pm, Friday 7 am - 11 pm, Saturday 8 am - 11 pm, Sunday 8 am - 10 pm

Killer queso, inventive tacos & fried deep fried chocolate chips cookies.  Bonus: real sugar sodas from Maine Root.  There's lots of seating, but be prepared...it will be packed if you go around standard meal times.  Try whatever the taco of the month is.  The Scarecrow, a frequent October pick, is my favorite taco.  Ever.

Torchy's Tacos

Thicket Food Trailer Park

7800 S. 1st Street, Monday - Sunday, 7am - 9pm

In a shady little oasis sits Thicket, a fun food trailer park just off of South 1st & Dittmar.  There are several stellar food trailers, including Granny's Kitchen, specializing in comfort food that will warm your belly & your heart.  Try their Chicken & Dumplings, with a side of mac & cheese & it'll definitely take you back to dinners at your grandparents house.  Their is an amazingly delicious variety of grilled cheese sandwiches at Grilled Chi & you have to try a drink for the coolest trailer around, Level Up.  


Grilled Chi at Thicket



ThunderCloud Subs

3601 William Cannon, Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 9 pm, Saturday/Sunday 11 am - 9 pm

1807 Slaughter Lane, Monday - Friday 10:30 am - 9 pm, Saturday 10:30 am - 9 pm, Sunday 11 am - 8:30 pm

True Original Austin, ThunderCloud Subs, embraces Austin weird, friendly service & boasts a large list of above average sandwiches that are always fresh.  Thundercloud is one of my husband Andrew's favorite go-tos for a quick meal.  Say yes to Thunder Sauce.


PhoNatic

9900 S IH 35 (Southpark Meadows), Monday - Sunday 11 am - 9 pm

Tasty Vietnamese fare including build-your-own Pho, vegetarian goodies & a wide variety of drink choices.  Try the bahn mi sliders as an appetizer to share or a light lunch.  The Vietnamese coffee and The '403' with shrimp, wontons, bok choy & egg noodles are among my favorites.

PhoNatic

Bamboo Bistro

6818 Westgate, Monday - Sunday 10:30 am - 10:30 pm

Dependable Asian food available for delivery, dine-in or drive-thru.  The service is always friendly & quick & their Cantonese Crispy Noodles are the perfect comfort food.  They also make a killer General Tso's chicken & my trip is never complete without getting an order of Crab Won Tons.

Bamboo Bistro

Green Mesquite

9900 S IH 35 (Southpark Meadows), Sunday - Thursday, 11 am - 9 pm, Friday/Saturday 11 am - 10 pm

Traditional Texas BBQ, Southern favorites & daily specials.  The meat is good & the sides are tasty.

Brooklyn Pie Company

9500 S IH 35 (Southpark Meadows), Monday - Wednesday 11 am - 10 pm, Thursday - Saturday 11 am - 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm - 10 pm

Delicious pizzas, calzones, salads & more made with natural & preservative-free ingredients.  Available for delivery, carry out or dine-in, but their seating is very limited.

509 W. Slaughter Lane, Sunday - Thursday 10:30 am - 11:00 pm, Friday - Saturday 10:30 am - 12 am

I am pretty biased, as Rosa's is a West Texas staple that kept me sustained throughout most of my college years at Texas Tech, but they are a Texas-based chain, so I'm mentioning it.  Solid, stand Tex-Mex dishes done quick, & more importantly, drive-thru friendly.  Their fajita family plate, guacamole & fresh tortillas are among my go-tos.  If you're looking for an enchilada, a quick queso fix or a good Taco Tuesday deal, Rosa's is your new friend.  


Rosa's Cafe

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

11500 Manchaca Rd., Monday - Sunday, 8am - Sold Out

Famous for good reason.  Valentina's recently moved down to my neighborhood & we could not be more elated.  A hybrid of two Texas traditions done right.  I recommend the Ultimate Bean & Cheese, for a taco that's filled with BBQ, beans, cheese & salsa.  It will leave you satisfied for hours.  Also, always order the guac, because...guac!  Be sure to get there early, as the secret is out about just how good Valentina's is.

Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ

Dinner


Aviator Pizza & Drafthouse

6501 S. Congress Ave., Sunday - Thursday, 11am - 9:30pm, Friday & Saturday, 11am - 11pm

Aviator is new to the deep South Austin scene, and it is worth checking out.  Their pizzas are fresh, with a nice thick crust & a long list of fun topping combos.  We love the South Austin, with prosciutto, arugula, goat cheese & honey.  It's a tasty twist on a classic.  Also be sure to try the hearty salads, calzones & the cinnamon pecan dessert.  And don't forget about the beers & wines on-tap.

Aviator Pizza & Drafthouse

Flores

4625 William Cannon, Monday - Thursday 11 am - 10 pm, Friday 11 am - 12 am, Saturday 9 am - 11 pm, Sunday 9 am - 10 pm

An old favorite, Flores is great for happy hour margaritas & queso, or an easy meal out with the family.  Their William Cannon location is nice & new, with rustic decor touches, plenty of seating, with a large bar & even a playground for the kiddos.  I love their combo plates & the La Flor Margarita, with a splash of orange juice & a cherry on top.


Flores Mexican Restaurant

Hao Hao

1901 W William Cannon, Tuesday - Friday 11 am - 2:30 pm, 5 pm - 9:30 pm, Saturday 12 pm - 9:30 pm, Sunday 12 pm - 9 pm

All of your standards, plus an extensive list of veggie options, Hao Hao has been a Mullins family favorite for years.  The service is friendly, and their delivery is quick.


Hao Hao

Mandola's Italian Market

4301 William Cannon (Arbor Trails) 11 am - 9 pm daily

A wide selection of pastas, thin-crust pizzas, small bites, desserts & coffees.  They have two large dining areas, a small market full of Italian goods & bocce ball on the patio.  Try the parma pizza, calamari & zucchini fritti for quick bite, or the lemon ricotta cookies with a fresh coffee for dessert.

Mandola's Italian Market

Mandola's Italian Market

Independence Fine Foods

1807 Slaughter Lane, Monday - Saturday 7 am - 8:30 pm

A variety of salads, soups, desserts, coffees & other offerings available from the deli counter as well as a rotating carving-station meal for evening service.  Their meats are locally sourced & as your taste buds will confirm, everything is made fresh.  Sandwiches, burgers & breakfast options served daily.  Try the juicy burger with truffle fries or anything from the bakery case.

Independence Fine Foods


Amaya's Taco Village

9900 S IH 35 (Southpark Meadows)   

Tex-mex usuals, but the crispy beef tacos are the stand-out on the menu.  Sometimes I get enchiladas too, but I always have a taco.  Always.  Puffy, hearty corn tortillas take these old favorites to a new level.

Amaya's Taco Village

Via 313

6705 Hwy. 290, Sunday - Thursday, 11 am - 10 pm, Friday - Saturday, 11 am - 11 pm

Detroit style pizza that is one of our favorites in town.  Large square slices with crispy, cheesy edges & sauce on top, these unique slices are perfection every time.  I have a soft spot for the Rocket, with Soppresatta, Arugula & Shaved Parm, but I also love a good slice of The Stooges, bar style (thin, crispy crust) with Artichokes, Spinach, Shallots & Parm Crisps.  

Via 313


Monday, January 30, 2017

Birthday Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting!



Cake is always a good idea.  Always.

This Sunday was my wonderful mother in-law Colleen's birthday.  We celebrated by heading up to Round Rock to celebrate at Andrew's sister Katie's house.  Katie made a delicious batch of Green Chili Enchiladas & asked me to make the cake!  I haven't made a layered cake in a while & wanted to add a little zing to the normal cream cheese frosting, so I came up with this recipe.

It's got a little zing from the lemon zest, but it's not too tart & perfect for those of us (Me!) who don't like sour.  Give it a try & let me know what you think.


Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

8oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, softened
Zest from 1 medium Lemon, organic
1 lb. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Whip Cream Cheese, Butter and Lemon Zest together until well combined.  Working in batches, mix in Powdered Sugar.  Add in Vanilla and mix until fluffy.  Use on your favorite cookies or cake.